They say that everything in Australia is dangerous, so I'm sure these women will fit right in.
UFC 193 hits airwaves -- and Melbourne's Etihad Stadium -- this Saturday evening (Nov. 7, 2015) with a pair of title fights atop the marquee. Ronda Rousey will defend her 135-pound belt against boxing elite Holly Holm, while Valerie Letourneau makes a bid for the 115-pound belt against reigning champion -- and wrecker-of-faces -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Elsewhere on the pay-per-view (PPV) card, Mark Hunt will lock horns with Antonio Silva for the second time and Uriah Hall will step up on short notice once again to face local fan-favorite, Robert Whittaker.
We've still got four UFC 193 "Prelims" undercard matches to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), all of which will air on FOX Sports 1.
Let's get to it:
155 lbs.: Jake Matthews vs. Akbarh Arreola
After an unsuccessful run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations," Jake Matthews (8-1) scored submissions of Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha, earning the 21-year-old a fair bit of hype. In May, however, he hit his first professional roadblock in the form of James Vick, suffering a guillotine loss in the waning seconds of the fourth.
He has stopped seven opponents, four via submission.
The UFC career of Akbarh Arreola (23-9) got off to a rough start as he fell short against Brazilian bruiser Tiago dos Santos in June of 2014. Since then, he’s tapped out Yves Edwards and dropped a wide decision to Francisco Trinaldo in March.
He has just one decision win as a professional, submitting 17 opponents.
I’m honestly not as high on Matthews as some others. His first two UFC performances were certainly dominant, but they were against the likes of Johnson and Rocha, who have a combined 1-5 UFC record with that win coming over Cody McKenzie. That said, Arreola really hasn’t shown me much. And even though a capable grappler, he lacks any kind of slickness on the feet and his wrestling leaves much to be desired.
Matthews should be able to use his size and strength to great effect here, dragging his Mexican foe to the mat and going to work with strikes. With Arreola’s history of technical knockout losses, Matthews should be able to break him down midway through the match.
Prediction: Matthews via second-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Kyle Noke vs. Peter Sobotta
Australia’s Kyle Noke (21-7-1) coached his countrymen against Patrick Cote’s Canadians on TUF: "Nations," ultimately losing both the competition and the fight with "The Predator" via decision. In his most recent effort, he managed to snap a 1-3 skid with a controversial decision win over American submission specialist Jonavin Webb.
He has stopped 15 opponents overall, eight via submission.
Four years after being released from the organization with a winless record (0-3), Peter Sobotta (15-4-1) returned to the world’s largest fight promotion to compete twice in his native Germany. He picked up a decision over Pawel Pawlak last year and choked out Steve Kennedy this past June.
He has only ever gone the distance once in victory, submitting 10 opponents.
Noke really doesn’t seem like he has anything left. He’s 35, a 13-year veteran, and has really only looked good against Charlie Brenneman in the last four years. Sobotta, meanwhile, finally seems to be coming into his own, developing a solid wrestling game to complement his formidable grappling.
At his best, Noke might have been able to sprawl-and-brawl his way to victory, but this isn’t anywhere near his best. Sobotta takes down Noke any time the Aussie looks to get comfortable standing and controls the fight for a wide decision.
Prediction: Sobotta def. Noke via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Anthony Perosh vs. Gian Villante
Anthony Perosh (15-9) followed up the most devastating loss of his career -- an eight-second knockout courtesy of Ryan Jimmo -- with a career-best upset knockout of Vinny Magalhaes in just 14 seconds. "The Hippo" is 1-2 since, with brutal losses to Ryan Bader and Sean O’Connell sandwiching a first-round submission of Carlos "Guto Inocente."
He has submitted 10 and knocked out another five in his 12-year career.
Gian Villante (13-6) seemed poised to suffer his third loss in five fights against Corey Anderson, only to turn things around late and score a comeback knockout in the final minute of the fight. His subsequent fight against Tom Lawlor was more or less the opposite, as he controlled the first round with brutal low kicks before running smack into a check hook for a technical knockout loss.
He is 13 years younger than Perosh.
I am fond of calling Villante the biggest underachiever in the division, and the fight with Lawlor only confirmed that. I picked "Filthy Tom" in that fight with the following logic:
‘I’m not sure how he’s going to do it, only that Villante will underperform somehow.’
So now I'm in the awkward position of picking either Villante or a man in his 40s with a chin made of cardboard. I like Perosh. I really do. His grappling is absolutely legit, and if he gets on top, he’s more than capable of finishing Villante. Still, I can’t in good conscience pick "The Hippo" against a decent wrestler with a punch at this point. I’d love to be wrong, but the likely outcome is that Villante bumbles his way to a first-round technical knockout finish.
Prediction: Villante via first-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Richie Vaculik vs. Danny Martinez
Richie Vaculik (10-3) stepped up in weight to represent Australia on TUF: "The Smashes," where he fell to eventual winner Norman Parke in the opening round. Despite the loss, "Vas" got a shot in UFC at his usual weight of 125 pounds, going 1-2 overall in a two-year span.
He has stopped nine opponents as a professional, six by way of submission.
Like Vaculik, Danny Martinez (17-7) came up short on TUF 18, losing to Davey Grant on the show. He first joined UFC proper as a late replacement for Kyoji Horiguchi at UFC 169 and has gone winless overall (0-3) in the promotion.
He has knocked out nine opponents in his nine-year career.
I am always down to rag on Martinez -- he is as game as they come, but just flat-out ineffective most of the time with his wild swings and telegraphed takedowns. That said, I’m really not all that impressed by what I’ve seen out of Vaculik, either. The Aussie is, well, decent everywhere he goes -- decent striker, decent wrestler, decent grappler. I’m just not sure he’ll be able to stay standing.
This is almost a pick-‘em fight. Martinez is the same, easily-countered and easily-stuffed Martinez as ever, but that might just be enough to take out the Aussie. Martinez’s aggression and constant takedown attempts carry him to a narrow decision win.
Prediction: Martinez via unanimous decision
The UFC 193 main- and co-main events should be violent. And there are some potential sleeper hits littered throughout the entire line up -- I'd call it a solid PPV.
See you there, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 193 fight card, starting with the "Prelims" matches online at 6:15 p.m. ET and then the FOX Sports 1-televised undercard bouts, which are scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET, right on through the PPV main card at 10 p.m. ET.